In The Cold Light Of Day: Caps Fightback Too Little Too Late

It was a great last half hour for the Caps in Columbus tonight. Just a pity the first hour was so pish.

You can read our full match report over at Prost Amerika.

The Province’s Marc Weber reported on Twitter that Teitur commented after the game that “We wanted to just defend and frustrate them and come at them in the second half”.

I’m sorry, but those are shocking tactics. Admitting them is an even bigger surprise.

We had a new look defence out there today. The first time Greg Janicki and Mouloud Akloul were playing together this season. Surely you want to take the pressure off them a bit by having the ball at the other end of the park? I was always taught the best way to defend was to attack.

For that first hour the Whitecaps attack was non existent. When you see the impact Salgado had later on in the game, it shows you what a bad tactical decision this was.

Talking of Janicki and Akloul, I felt both had tremendous games.

Mouloud made some great saving tackles and won some good balls in the air. There were a couple of bad giveaways though, but I can excuse that as he’s still trying to get his game back. Having seen him in full flow in the reserve game against Chivas, I know what he’s capable of.

Greg Janicki was simply immense. My Man of the Match for the Caps. It’s great to see him back and showing why he was the USSF-D2 Defender of the Year for 2010.

Alain Rochat was great in his more conventional left back role. His second half interplay with Davide Chiumiento created so many chances in that last half hour and they were linking up superbly. Really looking forward to seeing more of this going forward.

Chiumiento saw out his first 90 minutes. He does seem wasted on the wing at times. A free, roaming role in the middle of the park would surely suit him better. He seems to play that and go wherever he wants anyway!

The substitutions seemed to be the key. The introduction of Shea Salinas made a huge difference. He was probably the best Whitecap pre-season and must be a starter for the next games if he is deemed back to full fitness.

Having Gershon Koffie back in the middle was a clear difference maker today from previous games. You felt confident in his ability to boss the middle of the park. Without him, we would have been seriously punished out there.

I’ve been a big advocate of Wes Knight and Jay Nolly starting. Maybe sentimentality ruling my head. I feel they should make way now for Joe Cannon and Shea Salinas.

Nolly was jittery at times tonight. That cross he let through his hands in the first half will get punished more times than not in this League. He seemed to completely mis-time his jump.

The penalty incident is debatable. Some have said it wasn’t a foul. Nolly clearly caught Renteria. Yes, Renteria ran into Nolly and basically fell down, but he was clever in knocking the ball past Nolly to allow the contact to happen. All good strikers will do this. Hell, even me as a shockingly bad striker used to do it. There was no need for Nolly to commit to the tackle as Renteria wasn’t going anywhere from that position.

The Caps did brilliantly well to fight back and haul themselves back into a game that they seemed dead and buried in. It shouldn’t take them to go two goals down to do this though. Where was the early fight, creativity and desire?

Columbus’ second goal was majestic. It was hard to tell exactly from the TV coverage, as they were showing Salgado on the deck, but I counted 19 passes in the 50 second move that led to the goal. 19 fucking passes with no Whitecaps player near the ball. Absolutely shocking. It might even have been more.

Omar Salgado was hardly worth mentioning before his goal, but the introduction of Salinas and Khalfan seemed to reinvigorate him. Then we saw the Salgado we want to see.

He’s got any potential monkey off his back by scoring in his first MLS start. Watch these goals come now.

Camilo was totally ineffectual today. I’d like to see us go with a Hassli/Salgado striking partnership for a bit and use Camilo in a super sub role. Having him and Khalfan on the bench could really help us later in games, an area we’ve simply been struggling in most of the season.

Not usually a fan of two big men up front, but both show amazing ball control at their feet, that I think it could work wonders.

We need something to try and kickstart our season. There’s too many bad beat tales at the moment. We’re the only ones that can change this.

Our AFTN 3-2-1 for today is:

3 points – Greg Janicki
2 points – Gershon Koffie
1 point – Omar Salgado

Salgado just sneaks that last point, the goal swaying it. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably give it to someone else like Rochat or Akloul.

So what can we take from today’s defeat? Well, pride in fighting back for starters and there were certainly some promising signs out there in the latter stages. It’s something to build on and we’re only eight games into the season.

We seriously do need to start building though.

Going in to the game, not many people would have expected us to get even a point out of it with Columbus’ fine home record. It finished with me gutted that we didn’t get all three, never mind one.

With our Western Conference rivals picking up points with ease it seems, the Caps need to get their second win of the season very quickly before we fall off the pace in a way which will offer us no way back.

I saw enough today to believe we can do that. Too many more stinkers like the first hour though and we don’t deserve anything.

I would have loved to have been able to lip read Teitur’s rants at the players on the pitch after the game. He seemed very pissed. Let’s hope he learns from today as well and we don’t just go out there to defend.

We’ve shown enough times already this season that we’re just not capable of doing that.

Onwards and upwards. Time to destroy some French Surrender Monkeys on Wednesday now.

Mon the Caps.

Authored by: Michael McColl

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